Keep updated on all that is happening around Thiessen Farms!


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Keeping on farming

This is a tomato seedling – a “Stakebreaker” tomato to be exact (and yes, I grew it mostly for the name), a new variety for us, but an heirloom tomato (so it’s been around a long time), red in colour, medium sized, with a delicious, sweet flavour complemented by an acid tartness (description courtesy of the seed seller).

Started around 6 weeks ago, back in early March, it is one of approximately 7000 tomato plants we have seeded. Stakebreaker is one of 85 varieties we ended up growing for 2020.

We will plant close to 1200 (and maybe more) of these tomato plants on our farm next month. They should provide enough fruit for our CSA members, our farmers’ market customers, our new roadside stand, and ourselves. The remaining plants will be sold so others can grow their own, and enjoy the experience of picking & eating a sun-ripened, juicy, fresh-from-the-garden tomato.

We weren’t going to seed so many tomatoes. Most years we overdo it – growing more than we can plant,  sell, and even give away to local community gardens & food banks. In the end a lot get tossed onto the compost pile. But this year we’re anticipating a lot more people will want to plant gardens. Certainly the seed companies are being inundated with orders for seeds. Vegetable plants should be in high demand as well. So we seeded a few more …

Of course we don’t really know what to expect this season.

  • Our CSA has seen a surge in applicants. Membership is up more than 35% right now, and we continue to get emails & calls each day from interested people. We are still accepting new members.
  • Farmers’ markets are now considered an essential service in Ontario. But it is still uncertain if, when and how they will operate. Our Georgetown market seems likely to be running in some form, but we’re still awaiting word on North York. And will our customers come out to the markets anyway?
  • We have been asked by customers & others to deliver vegetable boxes into Toronto and are considering this as well, though our preference is to stay closer to home.

Whatever the upcoming months will bring, we know everyone has to eat! We remain committed to growing the most nutritious, healthy and best tasting vegetables possible. We are doing our best to keep ourselves healthy & well. And we will do all we can to provide our customers with their food in a safe way.

So we keep on farming!

We are well into spring. The sun shines stronger (sometimes), the ground is warming, and crops are growing.

Amy & Sage are spending most of their days now in the greenhouse, transplanting tomatoes from their seeding trays into pots.

The big greenhouse is starting to fill up. Along with the tomatoes, we are transplanting peppers & eggplant.

The small greenhouse where we seed everything is overflowing …

And the trailer is loaded with trays of kale, spinach, green onions, broccoli & sweet peas which we expect to plant out in the field this week – if the weather cooperates!

Out on the farm the snow peas are up – pictured here with a bit of snow, which fell earlier this week.

And the garlic is growing well …

… as is the rhubarb.

We are preparing the fields for crops.

Our old apricot trees in the backyard are in blossom – a sure sign of spring. Unfortunately it has been cold, windy or wet these last few days so the bees have not been out pollinating. But tomorrow promises to be sunny and the trees should be abuzz with bees!

The willow tree by the pond is showing green – always the first tree to turn.

As usual Sage and the Flynns remind us to chill – leading by example!

We received this timely & encouraging message on our sidewalk the other day, from some young, talented artists in the neighbourhood.

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Spring continued …

The peas are planted, the garlic is growing and the blackberries are budding.
It’s spring, and life on the farm is progressing as it should.

The snow peas were seeded where the occultation tarp had been all winter. We pulled it off last week and the ground underneath was perfect for planting. Any weeds and leftover vegetation from the fall had long since broken down & decomposed under the tarp. We lightly worked the soil and it was ready to plant.

The tarp was moved over to a new area & weighted down. We will leave it for a month or 6 weeks and  then this patch will be ready to plant. Of course we had some strong winds over the weekend and almost lost the tarp. We kept adding more & more weights, but to no avail! Finally I parked the tractor on it, to at least hold it down. Then Monday we pulled it back into place & adjusted the weights again. We’ll see …

Rows of garlic are now visible above the straw. Planted back in October, mulched in December, it is now the first crop out on the farm to show life in spring. And the best part of all – there’s no more work involved until the harvest. That will begin in early June when we will pull some for green garlic. Later that month the scapes will be harvested, and then the rest of the garlic will be pulled sometime in July.

The blackberries are pruned and tied, and looking healthy. Next we will mulch them with straw both to control the weeds and to keep the ground moist through the summer.

We did start some mulching today – rhubarb, currants, and the mint patch. Usually we let the ground warm up before applying straw, but the weeds are already pushing – so why wait!

Seeding continues in the greenhouse, and the first tomatoes will be ready for transplanting into larger pots next week.

Spring means our busy time is just beginning.

We are thankful for our work, our farm, our health and for the beauty of the season …